It’s fair to say since Ben Affleck put on the Dark Knight suits and became Batman for DCs “Batman Vs Superman” blockbuster in 2016 the Dark Knight franchise has needed the kiss of life. Not since George Clooney put on the cape in 1997’s “Batman and Robin” has a Batman actor bombed so badly at the box office but now with the news that Robert Pattison is set to dawn the cape for the first time in Matt Reeves first solo Batman film fans are hoping that the Caped Crusader will be once again revived.
Fall from Grace
It’s been a fall from grace for Batman ever since Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale made the Dark Knight trilogy which concluded with 2012’s “The Dark Knight Rises”. It’s fair to say that both Nolan and Bale took Batman to new heights as they were able to take us on a journey with three firms that were all big blockbusters as well as remaining true to the characters comic book roots. However, since then DC announced that they were undertaking their own cinematic universe to rival Marvel and with Nolan not on board to direct the fourth coming “Batman Vs Superman” movie Bale decided not to reprise his role and so went the winning formula that Batman fans had come to love.
It was announced in 2013 that Ben Affleck would be the new Batman and naturally this news was met with some concerns especially with his portrayal of Daredevil still fresh in everyone’s minds from a decade earlier. If I’m being honest Affleck didn’t do too bad a job as Batman but he was let down by the material he had to work with, as “Batman Vs Superman” came under intense criticism from fans and critics alike. In the film, Affleck was portraying a much older and withdrawn Batman, who had been there, done it and seen it all. However, his eagerness to use a machine gun in one of the fight scenes left fans furious as this clearly went against one of the fundamental principles that makes Batman, Batman. Never before has a Dark Knight ever pulled a gun on anyone, let alone shot half a dozen men in cold blood, it just doesn’t happen. Whether you look at the comic books, the cartoon series, the TV series from the ’60s and even all of his movies, Batman has never ever used a gun, with the one exception being in the first episode of the “Batman Beyond” animated series, and that incident left Bruce Wayne deciding to hang up his cape and retire as Batman because he realised it went against one of his fundamental principles. In “Batman Vs Superman” that one scene completely destroyed Ben Affleck’s representation of the Dark Knight, no matter what he did after that he was always going to be known as the Batman that used a gun and this was never going to go down well with fans. There were other fundamental problems with the character Affleck was trying to play, as the movie played out we saw that Bruce Wayne had more or less become a recluse and didn’t really socialise with other people apart from his butler Alfred. This left fans wondering how on earth this Batman was going to be involved in the Justice League and play well with other people. The two ideas just didn’t mirror up and what we ended up with was a Batman that was neither here or there. We didn’t really know what he stood for anymore and what his motivations were and this evidently led to the fall of Batman.
Giving Batman new life
Since the Justice League movie there has been a lot of talk about a solo Batman film in order to try to revive the character. Initially, Ben Affleck was poised to revive his role as the Dark Knight as well as direct the film, he worked on several scripts but ended up not being able to come up with a version of a character that he was happy with. Firstly Affleck was only meant to step away from the director’s chair in order to focus more on his portrayal of Batman, DC decided to get in Matt Reeves in order to direct the film but again Affleck found it a struggle to come up with a version of Batman that he was happy with so earlier this year he decided to step away from the movie altogether. He told Jimmy Kimmel on his show.
“I tried to direct a version of it and worked with a really good screenwriter, but just couldn’t come up with a version, I couldn’t crack it,” Also saying. “So I thought it was time to let someone else take a shot at it. They got some really good people, so I’m excited.”
Where do we go now?
In May 2019 Robert Patterson was announced as the new Batman for Matt Reeves first solo movie about The Dark Knight, and with fans eagerly anticipating the 2021 release date questions soon turned to what sort of Batman movie would we be getting and would this fit into the DC Extended Universe? Neither Reeves or Warner Brothers have said how or if the movie will tie into the DCEU but Reeves has shared some light on what sort of Batman movie we can expect. It looks like Reeves wants to go back to basics with this Batman movie and highlight Batman’s skills as being the world’s greatest detective rather than doing a big Hollywood blockbuster. Rumours suggest that the movie will be about an event very early on in Batman’s career, so we are not getting another origin story but it sounds like what we can expect is something close to the animated film “Batman Mask of the Phantasm”, for those of you who have not seen this yet seriously go and check it out because even though it is an animated movie it has been wildly described as the best batman movie of all time and I have to say I cannot disagree with that statement.
The Penguin and Catwoman are supposed to be the lead villains in this movie, however, it is rumored that this movie will be the first of a trilogy so it is possible that we will see more classic villains from Batman’s rogue’s gallery. Personally, I am very excited about the fact that we are going to see the Penguin on the big screen again, not since Danny DeVito brilliantly played the evil mastermind in “Batman Returns” have we seen the Penguin in all of his glory. He is one of my favorite villains and a character that I think has been largely forgotten about so it will be interesting to see Reeves bring him back to life. If this is going to be a trilogy of movies I want them to take us on a journey of classic Batman storytelling, whereby the Dark Knight is able to use his brain to get out of situations rather than his brawn. I think in too many recent Batman films we have seen Batman throw the first punch rather than using his wit and intelligence to get out of trouble. One of the things I really liked about the Michael Keaton movies as well as the Batman animated series as we got to see how intelligent the Dark Knight was, he would never engage into a fight unless he really had to and even when he did he did it with minimal fuss and casualties, this aspect of Batman is what made him so unique as a superhero but the fact is we have lost that in recent movies. I want these movies to show Batman at his very best, by outwitting the bad guys with his intelligence as well as his training. Something else I really want to see in these next few movies is the emergence of The Boy Wonder. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Batman and Robin successfully fighting side by side on any kind of screen, the animated series was the last project that introduced Robin as Robin and introduced him well. The 1995 movie “Batman Forever” as well as the 1997 movie “Batman and Robin” tried to add the element of Batman’s sidekick but both movies failed miserably at this attempt and even though Dick Grayson appeared in “The Dark Knight Rises” he wasn’t playing his ultra ego, Robin,, yes there was a big hint in the final scene of the movie that he was going to become the Boy Wonder but we never got to see him put on the Robin suit and I just think it would be nice to be able to see Batman and Robin fighting crime together on a big screen in a storyline that works and a movie that would be successful. We know the character of Robin works, we’ve seen it work in the animated series, so now it’s all about transferring that onto a big screen and I really think if DC focuses properly on the project they will be able to produce something that will go down in cinematic history.
Anyway, these are just my thoughts on how DC can try and revive the Batman franchise, let me know your thoughts in the comments below and like always if you like this article please share it.